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How Harm Minimisation Reduces Negative Impact Of Psychoactive Substance?


Harm Minimisation Essay: Harm minimisation works to reduce the adverse health, social and economic impacts of drug use on communities, families and individuals.

Using the national literature, critically analyze the impact the three pillars of harm minimisation have on reducing drug-related harm in Australia.


The lack of awareness about the topic is clearly visible in the different aspects of society where most of the young people have been the victim of severe mental health issues due to psychoactive substance use (AMSA, 2018). In concern of this matter, the governments, as well as the non-government organizations, have taken certain initiatives for harm minimization works with the aim to reduce its negative impact on health, social, and economy on communities, individuals, and families. Therefore, the primary purpose of this essay is to analyze harm minimization.

Harm minimization
Harm minimization can be defined as the policy, practices, and programs that are proposed with the aim for the reduction of harms related to psychoactive substance use over mental and psychological health. The harm minimization does not only focus on the prevention of substance use only, but it rather focuses on the prevention of harm, along with the individual continuing the usage of psychoactive substances (Xamon, 2019). In concern to this, the harm minimization policy and campaign in Australia were first developed in 1855, which was accordingly followed by a national drug strategy in the year 1993. Since then, the harm minimization policy has come through a long evolution and is acknowledged globally.

Harm minimization has been like an umbrella term for the official approaches of Australia, which describes various policies and strategies that outline the initiatives of the Australian government to reduce the adverse effects of psychoactive substances and their impact (Lee, 2020). According to Steenholdt (2015), the harm minimization strategy has successfully combat the harms related to substance use in the Australian community, which also includes the prevalence of substance use, death related to substance use, and conduction of contagious disease.

The three pillars of Australia’s harm minimization policy are as given below:

Harm reduction
Harm minimization refers to the specific measure that is designed for the reduction of harm in relation to the individual that is using or affected by psychoactive substances. It mainly prioritizes the prevention of harm rather than the prevention of use. Rather than condoning or encouraging substance use, it focuses on the reorganization of some individuals using substances despite knowing about the risk. According to Wodak et al., (2012), the impact of the harm reduction policy such as injecting facilities, needle exchange opiate substitute treatment, etc, has not been as successful as anticipated, because of the increase in BVB infections, though the harm reduction policy is heavily funded. However, on the other hand, the level of the use of alcohol, and nicotine has been reduced, along with the decline in the smokers’ above14 by 10 %. The harm reduction policy is directly related to the random testing f alcohol, where drinking and driving is having to be served as a penalty in regard to safety awareness programs. the study shows that the total expense of the Australian government between 2003 to 2003, in response to substance use was estimated at about $A 3.2 billion out of which 75% was owed for supply control, 210 % for prevention, 7% for treatment, 5% for health cost, 2% for researchers and other purposes, and 1% for harm reduction.

Supply reduction
The aim of this pillar is to lessen the supply or availability of substances and other drugs, which will influence both demand and harm indirectly. This pillar includes various strategies that are used to measure, regulate, and control the availability of substances, including who, where, and what substances can be used. According to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (2019), reducing the supply of psychoactive substance use in Australia has covered numerous fonts and incorporates not only the reduction of harm but also minimizing supply, while making safe supply and sustaining both the withdrawal and recovery from the consequences of psychoactive substance use. The approach of the supply reduction policy has in regard to the supply and use of illicit drugs and substances has also shown a noticeable decrease in substance use in Australia. According to Wan et al., (2014), the supply reduction policy has also failed in Australia, because the Australian legislation invests a huge amount of money in terms of drug law enforcement, though the availability of illegal drugs are widely used and readily available within the nation. There have been no steady effects found amid the measures and policy of supply reduction because of the evidence-based on the increase in the arrest of the suppliers in regards to the supply of illicit substances.

Demand reduction
This pillar refers to the measures that are taken with the aim of the reduction of substance use despite availability. It mainly focuses on the measures that are taken to prevent or delay uptake of substance use and other drugs and the measures for the reduction of use as a treatment. For this measure, this pillar promotes drug education in schools and organizing campaigns. According to, (2021), the demand reduction policy prevents the individual from usage of substance use and other illicit drugs, at the same time support and encourage individuals to recover from the dependency of substance use through evidence-informed treatment. This policy has been considered to be more efficient and effective, because if the appropriate initiatives taken within the policy such as awareness campaign, and earl\y intervention, which has brought positive outcomes among g the Australians in regard to the substance use.

Substance use has always being a part of society, which has made a made severe impact on the life of Australians in concern to their health, society, and economy. Considering the adverse impacts of substance use, the government of Australia has taken the major initiatives by proposing the harm minimization policy in aid to reduce harm as well as prevent substance use. The strategy within the context of harm minimization has had a tremendous effect on the minimization of harm which has been acknowledged globally. It has been considered as the national policy of Australia, within which several other initiatives are taken for the minimization of harm and its adverse effect on Australians.

References (2021). Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia, Demand reduction. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

AMSA. (2018). Harm Minimisation in Illicit Substance Use Background. 20Illicit%20Substance%20Use%20%282018%29.pdf

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation. (2019). ANMF Position Statement ANMF Position Statement -Harm Minimisation Harm minimization. In ANMF Position Statement.

Wan, Wai-Yin, Weatherburn, Wardlaw, D., Grant, Sara, V., & Sarafidis, G. S. (2014, December 2). Supply-side reduction policy and drug-related harm. Australian Institute of Criminology.

Wodak, A., Griffiths, P. N., Beek, I. van, & Ryan, J. (2012). (PDF) Policy and practice in harm reduction in Australasia. ResearchGate.

Xamon, H. A. (2019). Committee Details. by+Com+ID)/76DC63572B331E7F482584BE00219B5F/

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